My Favorite Alaska Photo s- A Photo Essay

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Pink salmon fill the 108 Creek on Prince of Wales Island.

My Favorite Alaska Photos

This Alaska Photo Essay contains my favorite photos from the ten summers I’ve spent (so far) in Alaska.

“Count your blessings.” While actually doing just that, I realized how fortunate I was to have spent those ten summers working in Alaska. My debt of gratitude to Bob Stearns for recommending me and to Mike Gorton at the Goodnews River Lodge for hiring me back in 2007 is tremendous. I could never thank either of them enough.

For that matter I owe many thanks to Kevin Ryter at the Lodge at Whale Pass, where the last three summers were spent. Both places have filled me with awesome memories of people and places, landscapes and wildlife. I am a blessed individual!

In ten years lots of images were taken. Narrowing all of them down the three photos per year for a total of thirty that appear in this essay was difficult. The things I do for my readers!

Please take a moment to peruse. Feedback is welcome.

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This waterlogged four-foot-long log put up an epic battle on Willie’s eight-weight. The fly pattern was not recorded, sadly.

 

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Tyler Williams looks over the Goodnews River valley from the peak of an extinct volcano called Tsuktulig.

 

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A TransNorthern Airways DC-3 approaches the runway in Goodnews Bay.

 

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Sea stars in a tidal pool on Indian Creek, Prince of Wales Island.

 

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Rick Ross, a true personality in Goodnews Bay before his untimely death.

 

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The technical weather window at Yute Airways world headquarters in Bethel.

 

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South fork, Goodnews River.

 

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Making an early morning baggage run on the Goodnews River.

 

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Rodney Smith wanted me to take him to catch a rainbow trout. Mission accomplished!

 

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Son Alex looks over the Goodnews River from Tsuktulig.

 

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Ross looks over the south fork of the Goodness River.

 

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Michaela Chloe on Tsuktulig.

 

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Son Maxx on Lookout Mountain, looking over the Goodnews River valley.

 

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Me, Judy Uhde, Ross.

 

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M/V Thorne is dwarfed by the LeConte Glacier face.

 

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Chuck holds a fat, fly-caught king salmon, Goodnews River.

 

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Jim Vinalyk and a high flying silver salmon at the Swallows, Goodnews River.

 

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Jacob’s ladder grows in the Goodnews River valley.

 

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Humpback whales feeding in the Clarence Strait.

 

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A glorious, fish-filled afternoon on the Goodnews River.

 

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Jim Vinalyk fly casting on the Goodnews River.

 

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Son Alex battles a silver salmon on the Goodnews River.

 

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Notice the tiny speck of M/V Etolin, a 24 foot vessel with kayaks on the roof, in the lower right corner of this photo of the LeConte Glacier.

 

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The Devil’s Thumb looms over fishing vessels near Petersburg, Alaska.

 

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I taught Christian Ontaje how to tie a bunny leech. This king salmon is the first fish he caught on his first fly.

 

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Brown bear eating a chum salmon, Goodnews River.

 

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Paddling a kayak next to an iceberg near the LeConte Glacier.

 

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Dr. Jenny on the bow of the M/V Blashke, near the LeConte Glacier.

 

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Mr. Bill fights a jumping silver salmon on the middle fork of the Goodness River.

 

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A float plane takes off near the mouth of the LeConte Fiord.

 

And that is my Alaska photo essay, ten summers in Alaska. Thank you for your time!

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2017. All rights are reserved.




The Season’s Final Whale Pass Fishing Report and Photo Essay

The Season’s Final Whale Pass Fishing Report

The berries are all gone. Invisible geese honk in the twilight. Nights grow longer. Dead salmon lie along all the waterways. Football is on the tube now, according to reliable reports. Our summer at Whale Pass draws to a conclusion, always a bittersweet time. This is the season’s last report from the Lodge at Whale Pass. I am taking next week off for travel home, recuperation, and repatriation.

I’d like to thank reader Bill Mucklow, who lives on Vancouver Island and sent me the following: “I live on Vancouver Island and do a great deal of fly fishing for salmon, some pinks but we target Coho.
“Early in the year we fish the top of the Island in the Johnson Straight for feeding coho. We use 10 foot Zodiacs and are very successful using Bucktails. This starts mid July and goes until about now.
“I suggest you give bucktails a try. We use Polar Bear for ours plus a combination of Ice Dub Shimmers. We skid them along the surface about 15-20 behind the boat and hang on.
“The process is as follows-

1.  Use a floating line with a 6-8 foot leader. Use strong stuff as they hit it really hard. I usually use 15 lb. fluoro.

2.  You will troll the buck tail about 20 feet back of the boat…maybe 25…just behind where the prop wash crosses.

3.  Speed is fairly fast…about the speed for Sockeye trolling.

4.  We put the rod in a holder so you don’t miss the hit/set.

5.  All our bucktails represent local baitfish and use a stinger hook.

“The cohos are starting to congregate in the kelp now so we change to 8-wt rods with Deep 7 lines and a baitfish fly. It’s great fun catching 10-15 coho per day in the 8-14 pound category by casting into the kelp.
“Generally the Coho we target will be showing somewhat, even though you see them periodically on the surface they are basically feeding down much deeper.
“We let the fly sink to around 25-30 feet then begin a slow retrieve…1 – 2 – 1- 3 – 2 – 1 short strips. When feeding they will follow a bit then hit the fly hard. Our last trip to the top of the Island were did not have to do any buck tailing. Salmon in the kelp were after baitfish so we were able to do very well casting baitfish flies using a Deep 7 line. A quick drop into the kelp feeding zone about 20-35 feet down and WHAM! The fun is on!”

Thank you for the detailed information, Bill. I hope I get a chance to use it.

The salmon run in the 108 Creek attains epic proportions. For such a small stream it sure hosts a run of fish! Most are pinks, but there are plenty of silvers mixed in, too. Watch for fishing black bears, especially at either end of the day. I still like the four-weight with a small, flashy pink fly for the salmon. For the bears you might need something more stout.

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Salmon scoot across shallow water on their way to the spawning grounds.

 

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Salmon in a pool in the 108 Creek.

Halibut, cod, and rockfish are still on the bite. While fishing at AnAn, waiting for a party of bear watchers, Alex and I caught on hook and line a couple of dungeness crabs and a couple of large and colorful multi-legged sea stars.

 

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Dana holds a quillback rockfish she pulled up from 150 feet of water.

 

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Not pretty, maybe, but real tasty.

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Alex wasn’t crazy about holding this sea star.

I also got to see the LaConte Glacier this week. It is an utterly fantastic place, words fail me. Photos cannot capture the grandeur of it.

 

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The face of the LaConte Glacier.

 

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Can you see the Etolin, hidden among the ice?

 

Snows from these high mountains feed the glacier.

Snows from these high mountains feed the glacier.

 

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We got to witness a minor calving event. The glacier sounded like a major thunderstorm, booming constantly.

It’s been a good season here, with new experiences, new friends, and a whole lot of new knowledge. I feel very fortunate to have found this place. That having been said, I hope there’s lots of bait off Cape Canaveral when I get there!

 

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In my fishing fantasies, this is what I will find when I get home.

Needless to say I need some work when I get home. If you’ve been thinking about taking a fishing trip in central Florida, either in the lagoons or along the beaches, please consider calling me. When you’re happy, I’m happy!

And that is this season’s final Whale Pass Fishing Report from the Lodge at Whale Pass.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

IT’S MY BYE WEEK NEXT WEEK! Next report on 9/6! Have a fun and safe Labor Day!

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2014. All rights are reserved.




Summer Solstice Whale Pass Fishing Report

Whale Pass Fishing Report

Pagans everywhere! Celebrate the summer solstice!

Here at Whale Pass we celebrate such holidays by fishing, of course.

Morning view from the Lodge at Whale Pass.

Morning view from the Lodge at Whale Pass.

Our only guests this week were Linda Stern and her grandson William, both from New York. Tuesday Alex and I took them fishing for silver salmon in the quintessential Alaska weather, that is to say cold and rainy. There were quite a few fish around. It’s almost like fishing for schools of redfish. You can see the fish pushing a wake and attempt to have the lure intersect the fishes’ path. They are not as spooky as are Mosquito Lagoon reds, though. They hooked five, only to have four escape. Cold and wet by lunchtime, we took the three-minute boat ride across the bay, back to the lodge.

 

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Linda Stern with a nice silver salmon.

The weather improved and we went back out in the afternoon. The sun was peeking through the clouds now and again and the fish were there. So were a couple of seals.

If you’re fishing, seals are kind of like sharks in that they will steal your hooked fish from you. William had a salmon on when a seal grabbed it. We chased that seal around for a solid 10 minutes, and the seal finally let the fish go. We got it! We had a couple other close calls, where the seal was chasing a hooked fish but didn’t quite catch up to it. In spite of the seal harassment we got eleven more salmon, for a nice limit for two, a great way to start their fishing off.

 

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Salmon will strike spinners.

 

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That’s a lot of fine eating.

Yesterday I went out as a deckhand on the Thorne, captained by Jared Cook. The fishing party was a family from Oregon, with a pair of 11 year old fraternal twins.

We saw whales, sea lions, seals, and porpoises. I’m still looking for a good whale photo.

We first went fishing for halibut. Twin Robert caught the first one, a fish of 25 pounds or so. Then his sister got one. Then Mom got one. Then Dad got one. Very democratic, these fish.

The Etolin, one of the Lodge's vessels, on the halibut grounds.

The Etolin, one of the Lodge’s vessels, on the halibut grounds.

Having our limit, we went for rockfish next. They are lovely little fish but I wouldn’t target them. Too small a fish, too heavy tackle. My understanding is they are very long-lived and very slow growing, too. Best to leave them alone. You’ll catch them while fishing for salmon anyway. But we got the limit of these, too.

A type of rockfish, beautiful little fish.

A type of rockfish, beautiful little fish.

Then we went trolling for king salmon. Downriggers. Flashers. The whole thing was all new to me and I learned a lot. We got three kings, although only one was a legal fish of thirty inches.

Day over, we headed back to the dock where we had a fish cleaning party.

Thursday we went out as anglers with the Stern party on the Etolin, captained by Kurt Gorlitz, again fishing for halibut. Except for me, the bite was on! Eight halibut to about thirty pounds were brought to the boat, although half of them were released.

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Capt. Kurt swings a halibut aboard.

 

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Alex with his ‘but.

 

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William and Linda show a halibut double.

Thursday night we had a fish fry party in the rec room. Fresh halibut fish and chips, yum-mee! Darts, pool, foosball, and other games were played, and we had a faltering attempt at karaoke. A fabulous time was had by all.

The recreation room at the Lodge.

The recreation room at the Lodge.

Friday Alex and I took the jet boat out exploring. There are lots of rocks around here, and I mean rocks the size of mountaintops. We came to a rapid that was unrunnable when we got there. Kevin, the owner of the Lodge at Whale Pass, had told us that at low tide we couldn’t get past that spot. We beached the boat and went exploring while we waited. We followed a black tailed deer for a way. They run like cartoon deer, bouncing along on all fours like a big bunny.

We found some stars in a tide pool.

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Kelp grows everywhere around here.

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After an hour or so the water had risen enough that we could run the rapid. We did, and several others as well, ending up at a small stream where we caught some cutthroat trout, lovely creatures that we released.

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The wooly bugger did the trick on this cutthroat trout.

On the way back we got turned around a couple times, but found another spot for cutts. We were back at camp in time for dinner.

 

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Alex used a big orange streamer for this cutt.

And that is this week’s Whale Pass Fishing Report.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short. Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

 

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2014. All rights are reserved.



  • Killer whale steals halibut from angler’s hook